Federal checkoff programs—better known to consumers from slogans such as “The Incredible Edible Egg,” “Beef, It’s What’s for Dinner” and “Pork, the Other White Meat”—were created so that farmers could pool their resources to research and market their products. There are programs for cotton, lamb, and blueberries, to name a few.
The programs overseen by the U.S. Department of Agriculture get their funding from farmers giving a small percentage of each sale to the general fund. For pork producers, for example, it’s 40 cents for every $100 they receive for their pigs. The checkoff efforts aren’t universally loved, however, and some farmers complain that they are required to fork over money to support activities and advertising that benefit agribusiness but not necessarily those with small and mid-size operations.